Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Florida Keys Day 5, Part 3 (last post) | Anticrepuscular rays seal the deal

I was heading through Key Largo, the northernmost city in the Florida Keys, on my way home on the Monday night during my vacation when I saw a mildly nice sunset. Stopping at a private boat ramp and undeterred by a "no trespassing" sign there, I took a few hand-held snapshots of the sunset. Now that the traffic had cleared - at least in Key Largo - I was eager to get back onto the road and en route for Melbourne. This shot looks west, of course, over Florida Bay.

It's funny that on the previous night of this sunset, I had turned around after shooting the International Space Station and saw the Milky Way in all its light-unabated brilliance. The Keys are alive with meteorological phenomenon. This night, I turned around and saw this for the second time in my life: anticrepuscular rays. Sunlight appears to emanate from the horizon to the east, but it's an optical illusion: They're just sun says being filtered by the clouds to the west and cast onto the high, thin clouds in the east. Of course, light travels in straight lines, but in this illusion, the rays appear curved. This sight made my turnaround in traffic earlier in the day totally worth it. After this, I was home in three and a half hours.

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